a life creative
This is a very fitting question for me today. It’s one I regularly ask myself in and out of the studio, but I’m not sure I’ve ever quite articulated it. I guess that means it’s an ongoing process of reassessing.
So, what is self care to me? Creatively speaking is personally speaking – I cannot bifurcate those two.
Self-care means to me is a big loud no to those who push against my boundaries.
Clients who are unable to see the value in handmade items made with precious metals (and precious time) and demand vast discounts and free shipping. Their derision, judgement, or other such negative stuff.
Sometimes “No” is not heard, but no is sacred. Liz Gilbert puts it something like this: I draw a circle around this. Everything in this circle is holy.
My boundaries are that circle.
Self-care means giving myself time off.
And that does not mean only that I need time to think (not overthink) and personal space in order to both create and function as a human being. Incidentally, both of these have been difficult for me to achieve in Italy in a healthy way – and lordy I know I’ve tried for the past 7 years.
Any lull in all of that feels like a holiday! Here, I’ve either swung between intense socialising or scorching isolation, and my creative space is my haven between, where I, the introvert, can recharge the soul. But I need to sometimes unplug even from outer creativity in order to recharge the inner creativity (some might call that navel-gazing).
Self-care means my peace and protecting my inner peace.
This could probably go together with “self care against pushing boundaries”, but I believe that having peace inside is vital to all).
The world is full of angry people who want to make me aware of their discontent – and I feel ALL of that. I am super sensitive to everything: when people I think highly of are angry with me, my head pounds, my stomach knots, I shake, and I vomit, it feels like a boulder is crushing my chest and my light goes dim. It feels like it could never pass. A little dramatic? Probably, but the fact I have such a visceral reaction to anger means I must armour myself, and that usually means fighting anger (or the possibility of rising anger) with anger. Only time passing is the winner in that game.
How do I counter anger with self care? I can’t counter the nature of other people’s anger by changing to suit them, or second guessing in order to meet approval.
I can counter my reaction to it by walking away. Anger is residual, though. Sticky, caustic stuff. It takes walking, nature, breath and yoga, eating healthy food, vitamins, meditating, to fine tune my balance and protect my inner peace. It means doing that daily.
Protecting my peace sometimes means shutting out angry people so that their anger cannot cross all that is holy within my circle. (Some people have informed me that these are avoidance tactics, but hey, I also avoid jumping off cliffs, paddocks of charging bulls, and snorting ants.)